Spring is here! And for those of us in sunny Southern California that means it is music festival season. First up is Coachella and then Stagecoach, with more to follow until October. Days and nights filled with music, food, beer, cocktails, and of course, legal recreational marijuana.
I recently had a terrific question from an employer who is sending a group of employees to staff a food booth at Coachella, and is providing group accommodations for them all. Can we implement some sort of wavier they asked? Great question, right?
While an employer cannot ask an employee to waive all rights arising from offsite work, an employer certainly can (and should) clarify expectations. Some suggested topics for offsite expectations include:
- Clarification that all company policies apply to offsite work and time spent in provided accommodations.
- That means no alcohol or drugs while on duty or while in provided accommodations.
- Violations of those policies (including harassment policy), will lead to discipline up to and including termination.
- Managers are responsible for setting the example.
- What they do off duty still applies (i.e. manager can still harass when not working).
- Include a number to call or steps to take if someone feels uncomfortable in shared accommodations or witnesses a policy violation.
- Set up clear protocols for how non-exempt employees should log time worked, including meal and rest breaks and travel time.
Having all employees sign off on expectations before going offsite, and taking steps to address any problems quickly and effectively, should help to limit bad behavior, and hopefully liability, even at Coachella.